• Michelle Faust

What Kind of Carrots are You Selling?

Just by giving something a name, that name can completely change the way people view that thing.

In “Would Carrots by Any Other Name Taste as Sweet?” Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times reported on a study that showed how “college students would rather eat ‘slow-roasted caramelized zucchini bites’ than just plain ‘zucchini,’ even when both dishes are prepared the same way.”

This was a study that involved 27,933 customers over 46 days in a college cafeteria, of whom 8,279 selected vegetables. The Times:

Each day, the experimenters varied the names of the dishes to create a different gustatory impression. The basic “carrots” served one day became the healthful but somewhat stern “carrots with sugar-free citrus dressing”, then mutated into the still health-conscious but more friendly “smart-choice vitamin C citrus carrots,” and finally achieved metamorphosis as the restaurant-menu worthy “twisted citrus-glazed carrots.”

Giving a vegetable dish a creative name – like “zesty ginger-turmeric sweet potatoes” instead of just plain “sweet potatoes” – resulted in 25% more people choosing the vegetable. But 35% more customers chose the zesty label than the health-positive “wholesome sweet potato superfood,” and 41 percent more chose it than the scolding “cholesterol-free sweet potatoes.”

Improve Your Product or Enhance Your Marketing?

It’s not really an either-or question. You should strive to have the best product or service with benefits that exceed industry standards. The sobering fact is, if your marketing strategy does not create the right image for your target market, your sales will suffer. If your Bentley sounds like a Volkswagen, then your Bentley won’t justify its price-tag. This is the power, the influence of well-crafted messaging to make an emotional connection. Consumers buy Sexy, Beauty, Power, Faster, Easy, Stronger, Better, Bolder, not just features and benefits (F & B). F & B is marketing 101, but you need it to connect and light a fire of desire in your market. On a menu of similar products and services, yours needs to leap off the page like twisted citrus-glazed carrots.

If your revenues are not hitting or exceeding your expectations, you may need a Word Chef, someone who can take the same ingredients and turn it into an epicurean message delight. A good content writer not only creates a potent verbal appeal, they research and understand what attracts your target market and understands the best medium for delivery.

If you would like a free consult of your current core messaging and marketing strategies, give me a call, FB message or email and we can discuss options to elevate messaging that leads to higher profits.


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 480.270.9466    michelle@rhinostrategy.com